If you just had dialysis access placed in preparation for starting dialysis, you need to be know how to take care of it. Make sure you aware of the different types of access. Below is a list:
- Central Venous Catheter (CVC): Usually placed in the neck area, this type of access is used only temporarily until a permanent one is ready.
- Peritoneal (PD) Catheter: Usually placed lower in the abdomen area, this is used for those who choose peritoneal dialysis as their form of renal replacement therapy.
- Arteriovenous (AV) Fistula: Placed in the arm, this type of access is the most common and recommended.
- Arteriovenous (AV) Graft: For patients whose veins are not healthy or large enough to accommodate AV fistula, the AV graft is the next best choice and is also placed in the arm.
Care of the Dialysis Access Site
- Get up to speed: There is certain information you must be aware of and that your healthcare team should inform you about. When you are not sure of something, make sure you ask questions.
- Always keep the access area clean: The access site is prone to infection if contaminated. Ensure you protect the access area by cleaning the area as often as possible.
- Ensure there is nothing constrictive over the dialysis access area: There should be no pressure on the access site. Clothing, watches, and jewelry around or on top of the access site can be damaging.
- Avoid carrying heavy items: Don’t risk carrying any heavy item as that puts the access under pressure.
- Constantly check if the access is functioning well: It is important that you are regularly aware of the condition of the access site. Should you discover something is wrong, call for help immediately.
Care of your dialysis access site is crucial to your health; guard it well. Never let anyone use it for anything except dialysis. Should you notice any complications, let your doctors know immediately.